Exhibit designers are responsible for designing sets, booths for tradeshows, displays used to decorate windows or locations for special events such as fairgrounds and streets.
They coordinate with event organizers to determine the environment or theme of the exhibit they are handling. They take care of the lighting, humidity and temperature of the location to protect and enhance the set or display.
Nature of Work
Exhibit designers obtain information from clients about the place where the exhibit will be held. They need to know the contents and what the proposed theme is, including the materials, budget, promotional requirements and timeline. Based on these information, they develop the design of the set, coordinate and direct the construction of the decorations, making sure that they meet the agreed upon design, schedule of completion and budget. Exhibit designers are responsible for examining the items that the organizers want to include in the exhibit. This will help them in planning how to display them and where to place the focus of the exhibit. They observe the set or decorations during regular rehearsals to make sure that components are not interfering with the performers’ movement and if being recorded, camera placement and angles. Exhibit designers also read scripts of performances so they can make plans for whatever issues may arise when going on location, especially for limitations of available space, traffic volume and patterns, and other concerns such as safety and convenience of all staff, crew and performers. They are responsible for preparing initial mockups of the proposed exhibits, as well as the specifications of needed materials, layout and diagrams of lighting and special effects to be used. They are also in charge of preparing scale drawings and rough drafts of floor plans, sceneries and props such as furniture, rugs or pictures, to be built on the set. If the exhibit is based on the period theme, exhibit designers make research to find out the stylistic and architectural elements needed to authentically depict the period. Once installed, they need to inspect the exhibits for compliance to the organizers’ specifications and to make sure that special effects, if any were incorporated into the design, are fully operational and safe.
Candidates for this position usually need to have a bachelor’s degree or at least a background on design. Exhibit designers advance in their field by pursuing additional training and education, gaining more knowledge about new design trends and technologies. They need to be proficient with design software and office applications such as word processors, spreadsheets and database. They should have a high level of problem-solving and troubleshooting abilities. Exhibit designers must be self-motivated, have a sense of urgency to be able to consistently meet expectations especially when it comes to deadlines and accurate work results. They should have the ability to communicate design ideas and concepts to clients, organizers and staff.